News Headlines

Stories from the 2014 midterm election:

fr hospicehouseHospice House of WNC passed a hurdle in its fundraising effort when the Macon County Board of Commissioners voted to submit a grant application on the organization’s behalf. In a 4-0 vote, the commissioners unanimously agreed to support the hospice house’s bid for the $100,000 Building Reuse Grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce. 

State issues are trickling down to the election debate surrounding the Macon County commissioners’ races. Three of the five seats are open, bringing out a total of six candidates looking for a place on the board. Chief among the topics of discussion surrounding the race are education funding, how to prioritize spending in the wake of the real estate bust and what stand, if any, the county should take on fracking. 

Highlands district, one seat

Republican 

• Jim Tate is seeking reelection because he wants to “ensure that Macon County will continue to be a great place to live and call home through low taxes, great schools, safe communities and efficient services.” He is president of Tate Landscaping Services, and has served on numerous Highlands town boards.

Democrat

• Michael David Rogers owns a landscaping business. If elected, he plans to focus on attracting business to the area, as well as environmental issues. “I love the mountains and the water and I just don’t like seeing it be trashed out and destroyed.” 

Franklin district, two seats

Republican

• Ron Haven, a motel and inn owner and sitting commissioner, said he intends to “keep taxes low” and work to improve the community for future generations. “I’ve got an interest in watching my children grow up and have opportunities in life.”

• Gary Shields, a retired educator and Vietnam veteran, said he feels a sense of  “civic responsibility” to his home. “I care, I care about Macon County. If you’ve got the time, the energy and the want-to, you need to be involved.”

Democrat

• Ronnie Beale is a two-term commissioner who previously served as chairman, and is a leader in the NC Association of County Commissioners. He is president of a construction company and previously served on the planning board.

Libertarian

• John Martin is a “semi-retired entrepreneur” who has worked in the insurance and real estate fields. He wants to “facilitate a better tomorrow” through “long-term sustainable growth.” He intends to work to “keep taxes low” and ensure Macon County is “business friendly.”

“Good jobs in Macon County are getting tougher for people to find today and citizens deserve better.”

Highlands district, one seat

Republican 

• Jim Tate is seeking reelection because he wants to “ensure that Macon County will continue to be a great place to live and call home through low taxes, great schools, safe communities and efficient services.” He is president of Tate Landscaping Services, and has served on numerous Highlands town boards.

Democrat

• Michael David Rogers owns a landscaping business. If elected, he plans to focus on attracting business to the area, as well as environmental issues. “I love the mountains and the water and I just don’t like seeing it be trashed out and destroyed.” 

Franklin district, two seats

Republican

• Ron Haven, a motel and inn owner and sitting commissioner, said he intends to “keep taxes low” and work to improve the community for future generations. “I’ve got an interest in watching my children grow up and have opportunities in life.”

• Gary Shields, a retired educator and Vietnam veteran, said he feels a sense of  “civic responsibility” to his home. “I care, I care about Macon County. If you’ve got the time, the energy and the want-to, you need to be involved.”

Democrat

• Ronnie Beale is a two-term commissioner who previously served as chairman, and is a leader in the NC Association of County Commissioners. He is president of a construction company and previously served on the planning board.

Libertarian

• John Martin is a “semi-retired entrepreneur” who has worked in the insurance and real estate fields. He wants to “facilitate a better tomorrow” through “long-term sustainable growth.” He intends to work to “keep taxes low” and ensure Macon County is “business friendly.”

“Good jobs in Macon County are getting tougher for people to find today and citizens deserve better.”

out franklinAll 11 Macon County schools will now have their own school resource officer, called an SRO, after county commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to institute the eleventh position at Cartoogechaye Elementary School. 

Noise was the main topic of conversation at the Sept. 18 meeting of the Macon County Planning Board. The county’s board of commissioners had charged the planning board with looking into a noise ordinance last month after Matlock Creek resident Betty Bennett approached them complaining of noise and partying so bad she and her husband could not sleep at night. 

Tapping into Macon County

art frDale Heinlein never thought he’d set down roots in his hometown of Highlands.

“Living in Atlanta, in suburbia, with the summer heat and traffic, I had to get back to the mountains, back to nature, back to the earth, back to the rivers to cool off,” the 34-year-old said. “I’ve spent most of my life in Highlands and when I came back, I just started to notice so many things about my surroundings I either didn’t know about or had forgotten — there is so much to learn and discover everyday here.”

The Parker Meadows project is taking a slight turn after the discovery of a Cherokee gravesite launched a series of meetings and negotiations between the county and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. 

fr forumNorth Carolina education has seen its share of high-profile issues over the last couple of years. Teacher raises, tenure, vouchers, budget calculations and adoption — and then abandonment — of the Common Core State Standards have all made headlines. A roomful of people gathered at last week’s Macon County League of Women Voters’ meeting to hear a panel of Macon County teachers, administrators and teachers address those changes’ effect on the classroom. The question: Is public education reforming or declining? 

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